How To Connect with Yourself: The Key to Thriving Military Marriages with Military Spouse Becca Brown Episode 110 The Waiting Warriors Podcast

The Waiting Warriors Podcast

How To Connect with Yourself: The Key to Thriving Military Marriages

By Michelle Bowler

Picture for a podcast episode for military spouses titled: How To Connect with Yourself: The Key to Thriving Military Marriages with Becca Brown. Along with a picture of military spouse, Becca Brown playfully laughing

Explore the Secrets to Thriving Military and First Responder Marriages: An Interview with Michelle Bowler and Becca Brown

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of military spouses and the unique challenges they face in military marriages. Join us as we sit down with Michelle Bowler and Becca Brown to uncover the importance of self-connection and self-validation in maintaining strong relationships, even amidst deployments and the daily hardships military marriages encounter

Discover valuable insights and strategies tailored specifically for military spouses, designed to empower them to nurture their bonds while prioritizing their own well-being. Whether you’re a military spouse seeking guidance or simply curious about the dynamics of military marriages, this interview provides a wealth of knowledge.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain essential insights into the world of military spouses and learn how to build resilience in your military marriage. Read on to discover the keys to lasting love and strength within the military community. 🇺🇸

The Importance Of Military Spouses Connecting With Themselves

[00:01:20] Michelle Bowler: Hey, waiting warriors. Welcome to another week on the waiting warriors podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Bowler. And this week we have an amazing guest. I’m super excited for this topic. Welcome to the show. Becca Brown.

[00:01:32] Becca Brown: Thank you. Hello. Hi. 

[00:01:35] Michelle Bowler: It’s so funny because at the beginning when I turned on the video, I was like, Hi, nice to meet you.

And I like stalk each other on Instagram.

[00:01:42] Becca Brown: Exactly. We’re friends. We’re friends from afar. Yeah. 

[00:01:48] Michelle Bowler: But Becca really does produce a lot of good content. She works from home as a homeschool teacher and life coach, which is what I love to follow her because everybody needs some life. Coaching advice, life coaching.

It’s like, do we need like, I guess, yeah, we do need coaching of our life. I don’t know why that feels. It’s like what we get from it though is like, I don’t, do you know what 

[00:02:17] Becca Brown: I mean? No. Yeah. Yeah, I do. It just sounds awkward, but for sure. Yeah. 

How Can A Military Spouse Coach Help You Grow?

Michelle Bowler: Yeah. I guess I just think of coach like my high school basketball coach.

[00:02:28] Becca Brown: Right. 

[00:02:28] Michelle Bowler: And while he taught me good things of basketball, he also yelled a lot. 

[00:02:33] Becca Brown: Right. 

[00:02:34] Michelle Bowler: And you know, I,

[00:02:35] Becca Brown: I don’t usually do that to people too much, unless it’s 

[00:02:40] Michelle Bowler: called for the different kind of coaches and like all the different 

[00:02:47] Becca Brown: sports, but in the same, well, in the same way that like your basketball coach taught you how to be really good at basketball, a life coach just helps you be really good.

Yeah, that’s true. That’s what it’s, I can, yeah. Okay. I finally worked through that because like I’ve shared on Instagram, yeah. I’ve 

[00:03:05] Michelle Bowler: been partaking of the life coach world for the last few months. Right. And it, it has really helped me. But yeah, for some reason I’ve been like, hung up. I’m like, I don’t know.

But like coaches 

[00:03:17] Becca Brown: normally yell. Yeah. . Exactly. Well, I think I was a life coach probably for about six months before I really figured out how to talk about it in a way that I was like, okay, that makes sense. Yeah. I knew what I was doing, but like, how do we like talk about it? How do we talk about it? How would you describe it?

But that’s totally it. Like your basketball coach will teach you how to shoot baskets and do really good things on the court and a life coach can just help you do better things in your life. Yeah. They’re just much nicer. Anyways. Usually. Sometimes, 

[00:03:48] Michelle Bowler: sometimes I feel bad for you listeners because I just have these random side notes. Hopefully you guys don’t hate them too much

Air Force Spouse Who Homeschools

But Becca’s husband is also in the Air Force for all of you Air Force people. I mean, military to military, waiting warriors and the waiting warrior, but, and she has four kids. You homeschool all four kids? 

[00:04:08] Becca Brown: No, I don’t. I sent my youngest is three. She goes to preschool four mornings a week, which is hallelujah.

It’s the most beautiful thing ever. And then I homeschooled the three older.

[00:04:22] Michelle Bowler: Other question. I mean, this whole thing is questions. Why didn’t you? Just 

[00:04:27] Becca Brown: the one. Just the one, Michelle. The one question I have 

[00:04:32] Michelle Bowler: is, Did you homeschool before 

[00:04:38] Becca Brown: COVID? No. So COVID transformed you. It kind of, it gave me the courage to try it. I had always wanted to, but I was never really brave enough. And there was never really a big enough reason to kind of push me.

Cause like, it’s a big ass, right? Like it’s a huge change. I mourn a little bit. When I think about those times when my beautiful children, whom I love very much, would just go off to school and I would just so casually take them to the bus stop. That was, that was a nice time, but the the homeschooling now, I mean, I’m just, I am.

It’s very hard, but I’m so glad I’m doing it. And I actually am really grateful that we’ve like had this chance to do it. And I may or may not continue. I don’t know what, I don’t know what will happen. Cause you’re allowed to do that in life. 

[00:05:28] Michelle Bowler: You don’t have to like make a decision and it’s not like a forever thing.

[00:05:34] Becca Brown: Oh, yeah, totally. Anyways, we’re not 

[00:05:36] Michelle Bowler: here to 

[00:05:37] Becca Brown: talk about homeschool, although that would be a very interesting topic. I have a lot to say, but I don’t know if it would be helpful.

Unlocking the Secrets to Thriving Military and First Responder Marriages

But I brought Becca on to talk about service. Marriages, which 

[00:05:52] Michelle Bowler: when I say service marriages, I, I just like to use that term because we don’t just have military here. We have a lot of military, but we also have law, law responders. We have law enforcement and first responders and they, their marriages go through very, very similar things as ours do.

Other than a deployment, like, but 

[00:06:18] Becca Brown: sometimes their husbands 

[00:06:20] Michelle Bowler: are in danger every single day. So it’s very, very similar, but specifically wanting to talk about one of the things that I know you preach about, which is connecting with yourself before you connect with your spouse and how that is such an important part in having a healthy, thriving, Marriage, 

[00:06:43] Becca Brown: but I 

[00:06:44] Michelle Bowler: just like first question I want to ask is like, why is that so important?

Because that feels not contradictory. Like when you sit down and you think about it, it makes sense, but that’s 

[00:06:56] Becca Brown: not 

[00:06:56] Michelle Bowler: ever our natural impulse because we wouldn’t need so much. 

[00:07:02] Becca Brown: Yeah, exactly. Well, and the other thing, I think why it’s such a like novel concept is that we’re not really taught that right. Like, like growing up, it was like, Oh, you’ll meet a man and you’ll fall in love and he will make you feel amazing and wonderful and loved and secure and all the things and then you’ll get married and you’ll have children and your life will be so complete because you will be married.

Those two things. Yeah. Which like, I mean, okay. Like I love being married to my husband. Yeah. But what I didn’t know before I became, before I jumped into the life of the world of life coaching and then like pretty quickly into that, I became a life coach. Was that it actually makes your relationship harder when you go to your husband and ask him to fulfill all the emotional needs that we always talk about, right?

That we all think that he should. Yeah, meat for us. Right. He loves me. Yeah. And like my prince charming. So he should, this is like, this is his job. And just like, I think that’s like the cultural norm, but that it’s that exact thing that causes all the trouble and the hurt and the disappointment because you’re, you’re asking him to do something that you’re not actually, that you’re not really even doing yourself.

Yeah, which is so interesting. I was even do it. I think so personally. I don’t think so The thing is it’s like we think as humans, especially women. Mm hmm. I don’t know are all of your listeners women I’m not sure like 95%. 

[00:08:37] Michelle Bowler: Yeah some men. 

[00:08:39] Becca Brown: Yeah. Yeah, so I just think as women We just think we’re just so nurturing and loving and wonderful and we are all of those things But I also think that we think we’re better at filling the needs of other human beings.

We think we’re better than we actually are. Not that we can’t, not that we can’t, you know, reach out and do wonderful things. We’re all doing that all the time. I’m well aware of that. But I just think that there’s things just go a little bit better when you stop trying to fill his needs and expect him to fill yours.

And instead, take that back. You fulfill your own needs. He fulfills his needs and then together you come together and then the only thing you have to do is love each other. Yeah, I think I 

[00:09:23] Michelle Bowler: heard once, I heard it from Brooke Castillo, who’s like a big life coach. I don’t know if she was quoting somebody else.

I don’t have that great of a memory. But I remember her saying your your significant other’s only job. It’s to love you or no, to give you the opportunity to love them. That’s it. And I was like, 

[00:09:52] Becca Brown: like what I know at first, yeah, at first it feels wrong. Like no. Yeah. But then when you think about it, it’s like, oh, but yeah, it like, yeah, it is because if we 

[00:10:08] Michelle Bowler: don’t, I mean, it’s like this whole thing, right?

Like if we. Because if we aren’t filled up and we’re, we’re never, no one ever is going to be able to know. All of our needs and fulfill all of them, especially in the military, because there were any of any of the waiting war like jobs, because the job is so demanding. Like I think fulfilling my needs is a 24 seven job, which is why.

[00:10:41] Becca Brown: Yeah. And I can’t understand why my husband isn’t here telling me how wonderful and amazing I am. And what I noticed before I realized that this was. That there was another option. Right. I thought I was really stuck in this, in this like cycle of like, why, and I was even like, my love language is words of affirmation and, and like, I just laid it all out for him.

Right. Like, so like, I can remember, and I’m not against like the love languages. I think it’s really interesting and it brings a lot of awareness, but like I did it the way that I thought I was supposed to like, here, honey, this is my, yeah. Love language. And so you just need to know that you just need to be really careful with the words you say to me, because I felt, I really believe that like I was special and like his words had extra power for me because words of affirmation was my love language.

Yeah. And I like, I thought I made it super clear, like, and then I remember after that conversation, like, okay, well, we’re good, because he totally understands what I need, because I told it to him, and it’s super clear, and so then I’m like, okay, so we’re good, and then imagine the next time I felt like he didn’t.

Come and respond to me in just the right way. According to what I had clearly pointed out to him, then I was like, I was extra disappointed. I was extra hurt. I took it personally. I made it mean all kinds of things about him and like our relationship and kind of honestly, like what I thought was possible, like the marital happiness that I thought was possible for us.

Cause I was like, I don’t, he’s not, I laid it out. Like I could not make it more clear. Right. So that job, I was like, hello, come on, but the thing, and in my mind, it was like, this is so easy. Like, I’ve made this so easy for him as though he walks in the door and his first thought should go to like, how can I fill up her cup?

It’s a nice thought, but it just isn’t based in reality. Right. So what, what I learned and now teach and. Yell from the rooftops as much as possible. It was like, no, no, no, no. He’s just there for me to love. And if I, so whatever it was that I thought I needed from him before, personally, for me, I can just remember it was this really, when I think of this kind of inaction in my life, I always go to the time when he was, he’s a pilot and he was an instructor pilot in Texas and we had bought our first house and we had our first two babies there and motherhood was like.

Kicking my butt, right? Like I was like this and like, I had always wanted to be a mom. Like that was my thing my whole life. And I just remember like, it was not going well. And so it was hard. And I was like, I know let’s open an Etsy shop. So I was like sewing Halloween costumes and selling them on Etsy.

And like the kids were just, it was kind of a nightmare. Like they were, it was a mess. So my husband, my poor husband would come home from work and like no dinner in sight. Like. No thought of dinner and the kids like, and like saggy diapers that needed to have been changed, you know, hours ago. And I’m like surrounded by like tool and like, I don’t know, pipe cleaners.

And I’m like in there making these costumes and what I always wanted from him. And I think the reason why I was like, Oh, and Etsy shop will be the thing is because I wanted him to come home and be like, And, and to tell me that I was doing it okay. Cause I felt like I was such a failure because it didn’t look like I pictured it, like I pictured me loving the kids and I did love them, but like enjoying them more and having, you know, yeah.

And like being able to go to the grocery store on a normal schedule and like dinner, not being so hard, like, and all the things in the house being clean. And it, and it really wasn’t. And so I was afraid. Like I was pretty sure that things were going poorly. Like I was failing as a mother and instead of me at that time, like deciding what it like, what it is that I wanted to believe about myself instead of me coming to my own rescue and saying, yeah, this is hard stuff.

And guess what? You’re doing a great job. These kids know they’re loved and they’re fed. Maybe not in the way that you thought they would be. Right? Like, it’s fine. Growing Cheerios counts. Growing Cheerios counts. Like, chicken nuggets are fine. Hot dogs are fine. This is all fine. This is kind of a side note, and kind of a, I, I think back.

This is so funny. So, my poor husband, one night, this will tell you kind of the state I was in. One night, I shouldn’t tell this story. I was like, No idea what I should make him for dinner or make us see, but you know how that is. Yeah. And so one night I was like, I put out Ritz crackers and cheese and I told him that was dinner.

He was like, what is happening? I was like, I know. I mean, we’ve got carbs, we’ve got protein, we’ve got a lot of fat. Like we’re covered. I could probably get an apple from the fridge if you want one. And then we’re definitely covered. Yeah. He ate it. He’s a very smart man. He ate it. And then I think after that, there were some days he came home and just went to the kitchen and started cooking, which was also good.

But the interesting thing was even in that, in that time, Like in that space that I was in, I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that he was coming home and helping me. I, like, made it mean all kinds of things about myself and more things that I was totally failing. And so, really, in that time, I wanted him to come home and say, Listen, I get it.

It’s super hard. And I know it looks like a disaster to you, but you’re actually doing a really good job. That’s what I wanted from him.

Yeah. That’s not what he was thinking. You know what I mean? Yeah. And I want, and it wasn’t like, Hey, Hey honey, how was your day? Okay, good. Okay. So tonight I need you to tell me that I’m doing a good job. I need you to tell me that even though this is a disaster, it’s a cute disaster and it’s amazing. Right.

Cause I wasn’t even, I think that aware of it myself, I was just feeling terrible a lot. So now I know that the best thing that I could have done in that moment was been like, He has no idea how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. Why, why do we need him to weigh in on this? Like, let’s go inside. Let’s ask me what I think.

And I think that it’s hard and I think that I’m still showing up. Day after day after day and I’m doing the thing and maybe I can tell myself that it’s okay that it doesn’t look the way that I thought it would look. I was totally wrong when I thought it was going to be easy and cookie cutter. But no, we’re doing it our way and it’s great.

Yeah. And if I had done that then. Well, then my husband walks in the door and it’s like, Hey, we’re having a party in here. Come join. It’s crazy. We’re so glad you’re here. We love you so much. You know what I mean? Yeah. And, and so me and me, you know, like living in that space of like feeling bad about myself.

Most of the time made it really hard on our relationship. Yeah. Cause I felt like he should just know, and he should just. I honestly felt like he should just know and he should just give me all the things that I didn’t even really know what I needed at the time. Well, because we think that 

[00:18:12] Michelle Bowler: and say it to her, like, I mean, I, I have never said it because that is something that my dad and mom were like, men do not know what’s in your head.

But I remember in high school girls saying about. Boyfriends 

[00:18:26] Becca Brown: and 

[00:18:28] Michelle Bowler: they should just know because he loves me. 

Empowering Military Spouse Marriages: The Art of Self-Connection and Self-Love

[00:18:32] Becca Brown: If he loved me, he would say this. If he loved me, he would walk in and immediately sense what it was that I needed. Yeah. Unfortunately, he did love me and still does. He didn’t know that. And he was probably a little bit more confused about where dinner was.

There was more confusion than just like, what is happening? Yeah. Yeah. So the thing is, is like, When I say connect with yourself first, that’s kind of the idea. It’s like you want to connect with yourself and figure out what it is that you need and figure out how you can give those things to yourself first.

So then you don’t have these expectations set up for really failure because he’s just not going to meet him that well. Even if he wants to, he can’t even always do it. Yeah. 

[00:19:18] Michelle Bowler: So how do you, how do we do that? With like maybe even just taking what so many people know like what the five love languages and like Becca said like that is such a great place 

[00:19:30] Becca Brown: to start.

Oh totally. Such good 

[00:19:33] Michelle Bowler: self awareness to have that is a good thing to do for your spouse and to show them that you do love them. But I do agree with you that we need to be a fulfilled person and connected to ourselves before we can love anybody or anybody can love us. So like, like with that, like words of affirmation or all those different five love languages, like the way we expect other people to love us.

How do we do that for ourselves? Like if words of affirmation is your thing, do you look in the mirror and say like, yo, I’m freaking 

[00:20:15] Becca Brown: awesome. I mean, it sounds, it sounds crazy, but yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s like literally like, Hey, and it’s weird at first. You got to try it. Everyone who’s listening. You have to try this.

You’re brushing your teeth or something. Like you’re getting ready in the morning, in the morning, or you’re getting ready, getting ready for bed or something like, Hey. You got, you got it going on girl. Like whatever it is, like, honestly, what I like to do sometimes if I feel like I’m a little bit out of touch and I’ve, and I’ve if I’m not being super diligent, like it’s very easy to slip into old patterns.

So it’s like, okay. Like I was laying in bed the other night and I was like, okay, what do I want him to say to me though? I was struggling with this particular thing and I was just like, he’s not responding in the right way. And then I was like, okay, hang on. What do I want him to say to me? And I could come up with four things very quickly.

I was like, Okay. Hello. I’m going to say them to myself because he’s not going to say them. And even if he did quite honestly, and I get this with clients a lot, they’re like, if he would just say this, I’m like, okay, but be honest. If he walked in the door and said that one thing that you’ve been dying to hear.

What would your reaction be? You would be like what, what do you want? What do you need? Like, what did you do? Like, what’s happening? Like, what alternate universe are we living in? Or, 

[00:21:38] Michelle Bowler: or mine has been like, okay, what did they say at work? 

[00:21:42] Becca Brown: Like, exactly. Like, you’re just waiting for the other shoot, 

[00:21:47] Michelle Bowler: right?

Okay. The 

[00:21:48] Becca Brown: orders, where are you, where are you going and how long have you been gone for? Right. Yeah, totally. Which is really good to pay attention to that. Cause there’s this thing that like, I think a lot of people do this, like you’re just like hung up on this thing or many things, right. If you would just do this for me, if you would just say this, if you would just come home and the one thing.

And then if that actually happened, you wanted it so long, you don’t even know how to really even accept it. If it did come right. So even if at that moment, my husband out of the blue came home and I got these two little babies and we’re just, we’re, we’re in it. Like we’re in it up to here. Right. And he, if he came in and was like, listen, you’re doing amazing.

I just want to let you know that I’m noticing and I like it and keep doing it. You’re good. I would be like, what is happening? You know what I mean? Even though that was the thing that I thought I needed. It’s so, so bad if it actually happened. Well, then it would kind of catch me off guard and kind of throw me for a lube.

I wouldn’t even really be able to enjoy it. I guess that’s kind of the thing. Yeah. Kind of the point I’m trying to make. Right. So all those things like you could just do them for yourself. And if, and I, and again, I don’t have, I mean, I don’t have a ton, I don’t have experience. I just have the one love language.

Right. So I don’t know what it’s like to want to get gifts, but what’s going to keep you from doing all those things with yourself, right? Like, why not? If you want someone to give you a gift, like, Amazon. com. It’s got my name on it. Like I’m going to take really good care of me. You know, same thing as like, I can say those things to myself.

Like I can, I can validate myself if that’s what I, if that’s what I want. And I, and we think it has to come from someone else. Yeah. Well, I 

[00:23:35] Michelle Bowler: just, I love that line of, I can take really 

[00:23:38] Becca Brown: good care of me. Yeah. That like means 

[00:23:43] Michelle Bowler: or can mean so many things to so many different people. But like, But especially as waiting warriors, especially if you add on that, you have kids or even like this, not single, you wouldn’t be a waiting warrior if you were a single,

but especially the, the why is this word so 

[00:24:10] Becca Brown: hard? You got it. It’s in there. 

[00:24:14] Michelle Bowler: You’re a wife. that word wife 

[00:24:19] Becca Brown: please. Guys, it’s hard to say. It’s hard to be, sometimes it’s fine 

[00:24:24] Michelle Bowler: if you’re somebody’s significant other and you’re working like just as women, we do it so often to whoever our people are, like whether it’s our family and our kids or work and our friends.

Yeah. We take care of them so much and we put them before ourselves. Yeah. But if we just thought that one thought, I was gonna like write it on my mirror, like, just take really good care of me. Like, I can take really good care of me. And that doesn’t mean I’m neglecting everything else. No. It 

[00:24:55] Becca Brown: just means I’m…

[00:24:58] Michelle Bowler: Looking and checking myself out in the mirror and saying, yeah, you did a really good job and I’m speaking nicely to myself and I’m 

[00:25:06] Becca Brown: exactly 

[00:25:07] Michelle Bowler: myself, the flowers when he’s gone 

[00:25:10] Becca Brown: because, or if he’s home, you can still buy yourself if that’s your thing for sure. Yeah, yeah. And a lot of people, like I get pushback on this from people and they’re like, no, no, that doesn’t sound right.

I’m like, no, no, it is right there. Like it’s a little indulgent, right? Yeah. You’re just laying around telling yourself how amazing you are. I’m like, well, first of all. Yes. Second of all, no, not really. But what I’ve noticed is that when we don’t, so we’re going to get into this idea of like validation, same kind of thing as like emotional needs, but like when we’re looking to other people to validate us, to like make us feel worthy, to make us feel like we’re good.

And this is husband or otherwise, this is all the people in our life, right? I actually think the more selfish thing is, is to look for that from other people. Because what happens is, and I don’t know if you’re like this, but we have these little stink stink bugs in our, in my office and I didn’t want it to fall down on me.

It’s like, not a problem. I mean, military wives, like we’ve lived in some places with some bugs. Like these are not a big deal, but I just didn’t want it to anyway.

Seriously. But what I think, like, I don’t know if you can relate to this, but, and maybe it’s just a words of affirmation thing, but if I feel like I’m talking to someone and they, and I feel like they’re getting ready to say something nice about me, something that’s going to make me feel good, I, I kind of want to like.

Let that happen. I kind of want to like continue to set that conversation up so that it makes them easy for, for them to say those things. Yeah. And I noticed that about, about myself and I was like, that’s so interesting. What I can do instead, what all of us can do instead is like in the morning, take five minutes, ask myself, ask yourself what is it, what it is that you need, what is it that you would love, love for someone else to say to you?

You can totally just say it to yourself. Yeah. And if you take that short bit of time in the morning, To give yourself whatever it is that you need that day, like to take really good care of you. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but you take that those few minutes in the morning and then you’re good for the whole day.

So then it’s actually the opposite of being selfish because then instead of going through your interactions with people, whether it’s your husband or your kids or other people looking for like these little hits of validation. Which I think we’re just kind of wired to do that, but if you, you don’t have to do that anymore.

If you do it yourself just for those short few minutes in the morning, then you’re free to just like be the best version of you that you want to be and go out and in service and show love and just like be there for other people. Yeah. It’s such a beautiful thing. And it, it kind of sounds like when we’re trying to 

[00:28:04] Michelle Bowler: egg on for those words of affirmation and those things that we want, it’s like we’re kind of controlling.

People around us a little bit. Yeah. But if we just give it to ourselves, then we’re being. Selfless, because then we’re letting them be whoever they need to, whoever they are.

How Dropping Expectations Unlocks Happiness in Military Spouse Relationships

00:28:22] Becca Brown:  Exactly. You don’t need to like, try to, try to manipulate people or control the conversation or like, make it go a certain way. Yeah.

It’s not necessary anymore. Cause especially 

[00:28:35] Michelle Bowler: during the separation, like if you can’t, you know, like we put so much pressure on the conversations that we have and we expect certain things and Because it’s so precious and they’re not with you. So you want them to love you as much, 

[00:28:55] Becca Brown: even more, right? You’re like, this is extra hard.

So fill my cup more. I have more needs for you to fill. And now we just have 10 minutes over the phone for you to fill them. So good luck. Yeah, not going to be pretty, which we do. And I talked so 

[00:29:10] Michelle Bowler: much on the lady warriors and I, like, I guess, 

[00:29:14] Becca Brown: I don’t know if I’ve been talking a lot about it on 

[00:29:16] Michelle Bowler: Instagram.

It’s just in the workbook that I’ve been putting together. Like we put so much pressure on. Those conversations that then so often and or maybe it’s just me and I was blowing it for years But like we put so much pressure on those conversations that then they get 

[00:29:34] Becca Brown: awkward and they go really very badly 

[00:29:37] Michelle Bowler: Yeah, they go really badly.

Whereas I mean I said I haven’t gotten quite to this level. We’ll see this This deployment, we’ll see if I can 

[00:29:47] Becca Brown: put this, there’s always, there’s always more time to 

[00:29:49] Michelle Bowler: practice. Right, right. There will always be another opportunity. 

[00:29:52] Becca Brown: Exactly. The military is real good 

[00:29:55] Michelle Bowler: at providing us growing opportunities. You can 

[00:29:58] Becca Brown: say that again.

[00:30:01] Michelle Bowler: But, 

[00:30:01] Becca Brown: but, As we’ve put less pressure on it 

[00:30:06] Michelle Bowler: and had, we’ve like not cleared out, expressed our expectations, like that alone makes things put so much 

[00:30:15] Becca Brown: less pressure. And now I’m like, 

[00:30:19] Michelle Bowler: well, what happens if I just show up to the conversation completely fulfilled and not that I don’t need him because he’s my.

Person, like I want him, I want, there’s a reason why we’re with these people. Right. But if I didn’t, if I wasn’t like gonna break, if he didn’t give me something that that’s what you love, like if I, and I’m just. I know I’ve gone into the, some of those conversations, like, I just want to love him and that’s what I want to do with this conversation versus the ones when I’m like, I need you to say, 

[00:31:00] Becca Brown: right, exactly, exactly.

[00:31:02] Michelle Bowler: So now I am, I’m really curious to see how I can approach these conversations in this upcoming deployment, I guess, by the time. This airs, 

[00:31:12] Becca Brown: you’ll probably be through it will be a pro even more of a pro. So 

[00:31:16] Michelle Bowler: now guys, you’ll be able to know this is what I’ve been doing my secret behind the scenes.

Experiment, but I’m super curious on how that’s gonna happen if I just show up to the conversation and how much better it will be. Because I, I won’t be on eggshells. He, he won’t be feeling like he’s walking on eggshells. Like, right. Like, Oh, what am 

[00:31:40] Becca Brown: I supposed to do? Yeah. 

[00:31:42] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. So much less pressure on both of us.

[00:31:47] Becca Brown: Yeah, exactly. And like, where do we even get the idea that there should be expectations? Right. I mean, for sure. We’re told that, but like. It doesn’t even need to be that way. And the other thing that I’ve noticed is like reality and expectation, the difference that here’s the camera, the difference that what, this is where the pain is, is when your expectation doesn’t meet up with reality, like.

This is the way I like to think about it. And this just kind of came to me in the last couple of weeks because I couldn’t figure it out. I’m like, why is it so easy? I get, my husband is gone or if he’s working late, if I know I can’t, if he, I know he’s not going to be home for bedtime. I can totally do all of it.

It’s not a problem. And quite frankly, I could probably do it more efficient, faster, better, whatever. Then if we both do it, if we’re like up there, tag team in the four kids, right? And I’m like, good. Like, he’s not even going to be here. But, why is it that when he’s here, and maybe he’s in our room, laying on the bed reading a book, and I’m putting all the kids to bed, I’m like huffing and puffing and like, Slamming things around.

This is so 

[00:32:57] Michelle Bowler: hard. Why is 

[00:32:58] Becca Brown: this is ridiculous. I cannot believe you expect me to do this. I’ve been with these children all day long. I even taught them history. Math. You know what I mean? And the difference is is because when I don’t expect him to be there to help me Then it’s no problem. But if he’s home, then there is an expectation and that’s where that’s where the suffering comes in, right?

That’s where I’m kind of huffing and puffing and slamming things around So how does that like but that translates not just in bedtime and not just if he’s working late or if he’s deployed It’s in everything right? So I think what we can all do is try is try to drop the expectation And just accept reality for what it is.

Yeah. So the over. Yeah. So like the reality means. Yeah, exactly. Cause it does, it kind of goes all over the place, but like the reality, I’m thinking of what you were saying about phone calls. Like when he’s gone, the last time my husband was gone for a significant amount of time. Was very difficult. He was gone for a TV.

Why? That was I think it was six or seven months. I’m not really sure. I’ve talked about this a little bit on instagram, but we had just moved from overseas to Virginia. We bought this townhouse. We were fixing it up and I was like pulling for that. I was like, we should buy a house and I’ll just fix it up and it’d be great.

And I had this amazing contractor and we would like split jobs and I was pouring my heart and soul into that house. Like I was learning how to do things. I was like, it was amazing. And he was gone and it was, he was at a training and it was just like a lot. And so he didn’t have much time, but he did try to call.

I think he tried to call every day. But for like five minutes, like, Hey, I love you. The kid’s okay. Are we good? Okay. And I, and I expected him to be. All in on this house and to be so excited. And I expected him to be super proud of me. And I expected him to be like, and again, this was before I was in the coaching world.

I expected him to like, tell me I was doing amazing things, even though I was going to bed, like exhausted. Right. Cause I’m, we had three kids at that time. I’m parenting the kids. I’m, you know, food, grocery shopping, laundry, the whole thing. And I’m doing all these projects. So I’m going, so I’m doing the kid thing.

Getting them to bed after feeding them Ritz crackers and cheese. Who knows they didn’t complain Exactly and I would get them to bed and then my my second shift would start and I would paint and sand and Cut and saw and all the things and I would stumble into bed at 2 in the morning with like drywall dust in my hair And like in the same Painting sweatshirt I’ve been wearing for three days.

Right. And so I expected him to, again, same kind of thing. Like I needed him to like build me up and tell me it was okay. And I was exhausted, but it was. Amazing. That was my expectation. And when that, when reality didn’t match that, there was a ton of suffering. And I am amazed at how, and the funny thing is my husband wouldn’t even tell the story the same way.

I don’t think he really realized, but I saw it as like, we were having five minute fights every night. On the phone, which is so sad, right? It’s like, it’s so sad, but the only problem was because I was expecting him to be something other than what he was. And again, same thing. What does he even know about what I was doing?

He had no idea. Yeah, I could just as easily say to myself like, Hey friend, you’re doing a great job and the drywall dust will come out of your hair and it’s fine and we’ll take a shower in a few days and like it’s totally fine and the kids won’t suffer and like they can have pizza in front of the TV multiple nights a week and no one will be harmed like it’s totally fine and so it just brought a lot all of those expectations I had for him.

It just made things so much harder for us to connect and so much harder for me to have a kind of marriage relationship that I wanted to have. Yeah. So that’s, so that’s kind of the thing, like drop the expectation. Like who, why do we need to have expectation for him? Like, I just need him to be here so I can love him.

[00:37:20] Michelle Bowler: Which it’s like, if you really think about it that 

[00:37:23] Becca Brown: way, it changes. 

[00:37:25] Michelle Bowler: Everything. Yeah. Absolutely. Everything. No. Like I, I am not sitting over here guys like, Oh, well I’ve, I’ve been doing life coaching for a few months. Oh, 

[00:37:38] Becca Brown: I got it. Here now. 

[00:37:42] Michelle Bowler: Yeah. No, I’m noticing it’s like you work on one tiny sliver, one thought, one circumstance and you.

Start to feel better about that and then maybe eventually you’ll move on to the next one. So like, I do not want you guys feeling like I’m over here. Like we’ve, we’ve got this figured out. I just think really, really interesting tool. 

Embracing Authenticity and Emotional Honesty: A Path to Thriving in Military Relationships

[00:38:09] Becca Brown: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. And I wouldn’t say that I totally got it down, but anytime I’m suffering, I’m noticing some, you know, some negative emotion or things aren’t going the way I want.

Them too in my marriage. I can always go back to this. Okay. What am I like? What are my expectations here? And obviously what are my thoughts here? Yeah, like what am I thinking? What what’s really happening here? And the other thing i’ll say is If I could go back in time to drywall dust becca who’s tired Working so hard.

I would say I would also want to tell her that It’s okay if you don’t have a good conversation You don’t have to make it mean anything. It can just be a not great conversation. Yeah. Right. And that’s where I’m kind of connecting with yourself is really important. Another really good tool is just like being really intentional about the thoughts that you’re thinking about yourself, about your marriage, about even like the experience you’re having.

And it can be, I do this with clients a lot. I’m like, okay. So a lot of times it’ll be after they’ve kind of like unloaded the problems. Right. Right. I’m like, okay. Awesome. I want you to tell me, like, if your life were a movie, if this experience you’re telling me about were a movie or a story, like, what’s the story?

What, what kind of movie is it? What, what’s the genre like, is it really sad where everyone just kind of hangs around and it’s not very good. And then the movie ends. Is it like a drama? Is it a comedy? Like, what is it? And genuinely you get to decide what it is and you decide what it is by the thoughts that you allow to be in here.

That’s what determines the story, right? Yeah. Like I could, I could have easily said like when my husband was gone and like we were fighting on the phone. I, I was telling a very sad story and this, and the story was like, I’m pouring my blood, sweat and tears into this house and he can’t even, he’s not even supporting me, which the funny thing is, is like, he was totally supporting me.

Right? Like that was, that wasn’t even true. That was like a complete thought error on my, on my part. But what if I could have just said like, yeah, things are really hard and I’m kicking butt in all areas. And like, yeah, we don’t have great conversations. It doesn’t mean a thing because we’re in love and we’re committed and we’re in this thing together.

And this is just the part that feels hard. This is just the part that, where we don’t get along and it’s totally fine. This is just the part where, and you can use that a lot, right? Cause even when he was coming home and I had like a bunch of friends around me and I think everyone was just so excited for me because I think they worried about me.

So they’re just like, okay, good. He’s coming home. Maybe she’ll be okay. And they’re like, are you so excited? He’s coming home. And I was like, genuinely, I was like. I’m a little sick about it because, and I don’t know if you can relate to this, but I was like, I know that we’re fine. Like we’re doing this and we’re okay.

Like, it’s not great. And he’s gone, and I don’t love that, and it’s really hard, but I know I can do it. What’s gonna happen when he comes home? And what if, what if then, like, what if then it’s really hard and we can’t figure it out, right? Like, I’m so, so scared about it. So, this is just the part where he’s gone, and we fight, and it’s hard.

And then when he comes home, this is just the part where we’re relearning how to live with each other again. It’s not a problem. This is just the part where I have to remind him that, like, children are here. We take care of children. We all, we do things in support of the whole family, right? Yeah. And just like, I don’t know, just kind of, I just think there’s a space to think intentionally.

In support of what you want, of like the strong marriage and the, and the happiness and the life that you want just in general and allowing things to feel hard and not make that mean that something has gone wrong. Just like, I’m kind of all over the place tonight. Just that 

[00:42:18] Michelle Bowler: it means that this is the part where, 

[00:42:21] Becca Brown: yeah, this is just the part where fill in the blank.

Yeah. And it actually works really well because there’s tons of hard things, right? Like my son was like, Hey, like we moved here to Virginia and like we live in kind of a rural place and, and I’m their teacher, right? He’s like, mom, I don’t have any friends. I’m like, that kind of stinks, right? This is just the part where my son doesn’t have friends for a little while.

It’s not a problem. This is just a part where he figures out some things. 

[00:42:53] Michelle Bowler: Right. I like that a lot. 

[00:42:58] Becca Brown: Okay. Last question. 

[00:43:01] Michelle Bowler: What is your key to thriving? You want to share with your 

[00:43:03] Becca Brown: fellow? Oh yes. I’ve been thinking about this. I know what it is. I’ve been thinking about it. My key to thriving is just like allowing allowing me to feel whatever it is that I’m feeling.

I went through a time where I had some people close to me who were going through some really hard things. And I was going through less hard things. I can’t even remember. Maybe it was at the beginning of the pandemic. I can’t really remember. It felt hard and I was kind of suffering, but then I would think of the other people that were close to me that were going through, I mean, for sure, harder things than me.

And so anytime I wanted to, like, I was like upset, I would try to talk myself out of it. Like, well, it’s not that bad. Like it could be worse. Yeah. And which wasn’t helpful. Right. Like that doesn’t ease the suffering of someone else. Right. All it does is, all it was is me not allowing. My feelings, which is, I think the number one way that we can honor ourselves.

Just like, don’t, you don’t have to talk yourself out of any feeling. Just like, let it be there. It’s okay. If your husband is gone or he’s working a really hard job or really hard assignment or things feel hard, it’s okay. Like you don’t have to think that you should be doing things better. You should be handling things like you see so and so down the street doing.

No, it’s totally fine. Just, this is just the part where it’s a little bit hard and I feel sad. It’s fine. It’s not a problem. So that’s what it is. It’s just like allowing emotions and honoring, honoring yourself in that way. I, yeah, a 

[00:44:47] Michelle Bowler: hundred percent agree. And like that one, that one has, I like started to learn it and not, not that same language, but learn that lesson a few years ago.

And it’s a game changer because it’s like as military spouses, it’s, Like we’re so close to the people around us and it’s easy to compare something like if somebody’s Just on a week or weekend training and your kids are wreaking havoc around the house You want to feel bad and like say that this is hard, but it’s like all but my neighbor is on right It’s of a deployment.

So I shouldn’t be 

[00:45:30] Becca Brown: upset Yeah. You could be yourself. Right. Exactly. And the thing that I know for sure is like, whatever that feeling is, is showing up. If you don’t allow it and like let it be there and process it, you just push it away and push it away. Push it away. That’s when we like lose it when we blow up, when we are full of resentment for our husband, even though I was just coaching someone this week and she’s like, I know it’s not him, but I totally resent the fact that he’s always gone.

That’s because you’re not allowing. You’re not honoring yourself. You’re not taking care of yourself. You’re not allowing yourself to feel those, those feelings. We like push them away, push them away, push them away. The thing is is if you just let them be there and just. Feel them and process them, then that’s when they actually go away is when you let them be there for a minute, 

[00:46:20] Michelle Bowler: which again, feels 

[00:46:21] Becca Brown: counterintuitive.

It totally does. And it feels dangerous. Like I have some experience with just feeling kind of generalized anxiety and this whole my whole life. I’m like, no, push it away. Push it away. It’s so uncomfortable. It’s so uncomfortable. Yeah. Okay. Here’s the secret. Let it be there and let it be uncomfortable and you’ll be fine.

And that’s actually what makes it kind of dissipate. That’s, that’s the thing. When you push it away, it actually comes on stronger. And that’s true for all the emotions. Anxiety, overwhelm. Let yourself feel it. 

[00:46:59] Michelle Bowler: Love it. Well, thank you so much. I feel well educated. I feel like, again, like I’ve got something to, to test out.

And I, I like that because I’ve said multiple times on the waiting wires, like just because something works for somebody else. I mean, this, I think will work for everybody. It’s kind of like a big truth that we’re slow to discover as humans, but at least test it out. Like, even if you’re like that guy, I don’t think so.

I think my husband 

[00:47:30] Becca Brown: should just love me. Like his job is to make me feel good. Yeah. And maybe like, if that works for you right on, I just, I find that it it causes a lot of unnecessary suffering. Yeah. 

[00:47:41] Michelle Bowler: But you got it. So if you’re like feeling the suffering, you got to at least try 

[00:47:45] Becca Brown: it. Yeah. And I’m going to test it out with 

[00:47:48] Michelle Bowler: this deployment and specifically showing up to our conversations with my husband, not needing anything from him because I probably Taking care of myself, like, I’m really excited for this experiment.

And now the self is like, okay, I need my scientific 

[00:48:11] Becca Brown: anger. We’re going to write some things down. Yeah. But also like, let yourself in those, like, don’t feel like you have to go to the conversation, like bubbly and happy. Like I’m ready to love you. Right. No, like be there in who, like whoever, what you are in that moment.

Like, like show up as your true self. Yeah. Yeah, 

[00:48:33] Michelle Bowler: but still having, 

[00:48:36] Becca Brown: because 

[00:48:37] Michelle Bowler: I think there’s a difference between like being sad 

[00:48:40] Becca Brown: and 

[00:48:41] Michelle Bowler: needy. Do you know what I mean? 

[00:48:43] Becca Brown: Or like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, because whatever it is that you’re feeling, I mean, this is a whole nother subject and I know we’re closing, but whatever it is you’re feeling, it’s only because of what you’re thinking in your head.

So it’s not, it’s not a problem for your husband to solve. Yeah. Like sometimes I’m frustrated at my kids and I know it’s not my kids. I know it’s the thoughts that I’m having about my kids. Yeah. That doesn’t mean I need to talk myself out of it. I can still be frustrated. I know that it’s me doing it, but I might still want to be frustrated.

Or recently my husband was annoying me. I love that guy. And he was like, what is wrong? What is wrong? And I was like, I’m having some thoughts. I need some time to myself because I wasn’t ready to drop the thoughts, but I didn’t want to like entangle him in it because I knew it wasn’t him. It was just what I was thinking.

So, so go to your calls with him or whatever, however you’ll connect with them. Just Just as you’re authentic. Yeah. 

[00:49:42] Michelle Bowler: Love it. Love it. Love it. Okay. If somebody wants to connect with you, what is the best way for them to do that? To say hi or learn more? 

[00:49:51] Becca Brown: I think the best way is to just find me on Instagram.

Okay. So, Becca Brown, the coach, is where I’m at. Cool beans. 

[00:49:59] Michelle Bowler: That’s easy to remember. And we’ll put those links in the show notes. Okay. Or on YouTube, if you’re watching. There will be right lower captions. Whatever’s down by our names. Cool beans. Well, Becca, thank you so much. Winning Warriors, please go say thank you.

Think of something. I know something’s popped in your head of like, Oh, I do that. Or… What if I was a little bit better at this, or how can, you know, how can we try to bring this, not we, because I’m not involved in 

[00:50:31] Becca Brown: your marriage. We’re all in this together. Yeah, we’re 

[00:50:34] Michelle Bowler: all in this together, but how can, how can you bring this into your relationship to make it a little bit better, both your relationship with yourself and your relationship with your significant other?

Becca, thank you again so much. Waiting warriors. Remember just because it is hard does not mean it. It has to be miserable. Have a good week guys. Thanks again, Becca. 

[00:50:55] Becca Brown: Thank you.

3 Ways To Set Up Your Relationship For A Successful Deployment/TDY/Training

3 Ways To Set Your Military Marriage Up For A Successful Deployment, TDY, or Training
Michelle Bowler- military spouse - creator of the Bulletproof Your Reintegration Course

Author - Michelle Bowler

 Army wife of 11+ years, mom for 4 girls and a boy in heaven, and hardcore believer that it’s possible to have a thriving marriage, family, and military life.